research objectives

Alina Grubnyak/Unsplash
Alina Grubnyak/Unsplash

The digital platform economy reorganises the geography of care work, of urban life and value creation and has therefore become an increasingly central actor for socioeconomic processes in European cities. Digital platforms operate as intermediaries between service providers and costumers by which they transform labour, service provision and consumption patterns and reshape sociospatial structures in cities and people’s everyday routines.

More knowledge is needed on the platformisation of home care services. The TICS project focuses on platforms which offer cleaning in private homes, home-based care for children and seniors, and food delivery.

The project builds on feminist geographies as a theoretical framework to address how the rise of the digitally mediated care services in the platform economy transforms everyday lives and inequalities in cities. TICS explores what type of care services are offered by the urban platform economy, to whom they are tailored to and how they restructure urban space. How is care labour performed and experienced by the workers when mediated via digital platforms? In what ways does the platformisation of care services (re)produce and (re)shape intersectional inequalities?

Our main objectives include enhancing empirical evidence of platform urbanism in Europe, focusing on the platformisation of care infrastructures and a systematisation of care service platforms and their enabling socioeconomic conditions. Furthermore, the project will advance the theoretical debate on platform urbanism with respect to the transformation of labour and intersectional inequalities. Another objective is enriching the methodological debate on researching human-environment-technology interfaces and platform-based everyday interactions in cities. For this, the project uses a qualitative methodology, combining narrative interviews with mobile digital ethnography.

The results will include a systematisation of care platforms in a comparison of three European cities. They will provide in-depth knowledge on processes of urban platformisation and gendered and racialised divisions of labour. In this, the project innovatively links macropolitical structures of platformisation with the micropolitics of urban everyday life and embodied subjects’ experiences.